A letter of Iames Alday to the Worshipfull M. Michael Lock, Agent in London for the Moscouie company, touching a trade to be established in Lappia, written 1575.
I haue in remembrance (worshipful Sir) the talke we had when I was with you, as touching the trade in Lappia: He maruelleth the company do not conferre with him of Lappia. And certeinly I haue something marueiled that in all this time the right wor. your societie haue not giuen order that some little conference (by you, or with some other) might haue bin had with me touching those parts, considering they know (as I thinke) that I remained there one whole yere and more, by which meanes reason would that I should haue learned something. But the cause why they haue not desired to conferre with me (as I iudge) resteth onely in one of these 4 cases, that is to say, either they thinke themselues so throughly certified of that trade, as more neede not be spoken thereof, or that they haue no lust more to deale that waies, or that they hold mee so vntrusty to them that they dare not open their minds, for feare or doubt, I should beare more affection to others then to them, and so discouer their secrets: or els they think me of so simple vnderstanding, that I am not worthy to be spoken with in these matters. To which 4 cases I answere as followeth: 5 English men wintered in Lappia. First, if they think themselues so throughly certified as more need not to be spoken: certeinly I something maruel by whom it should be: for in the winter past there lay but 5 English persons there, viz. Christopher Colt, Roger Leche, Adam Tunstal cooper, one lad, and I: for Henry Cocknedge was the whole winter at Mosco. Christopher Colt a simple merchant. And of these persons, as touching Colt, I think him (if I may without offence speake my conscience) the most simple person that was there, (as touching the vnderstanding of a marchant) although indeed he tooke vpon him very much to his owne harme and others I doubt, for he vsed himselfe not like a marchant, neither shewed diligence like a worthy seruant or factor, but lay still in a den al the whole winter, hauing wares lying vpon his hand, which he would not imploy to any vse: although sundry waies there were that he might haue put his wares in ready money with gaine, and no great aduenture, which money would haue bin more acceptable to the poore Lappes and fishermen at the spring, than any kind of wares: Good trade in winter in Lappia. but his fond head did as he that had the talent in the Gospel, and yet he had counsel to the contrary which he disdained, so that men perceiuing his captious head, left not only to counsell him, but also some, in as much as they might, kept him from knowledge of the trade that might be in that country, the winter time, which is better peraduenture then most men think of. Wherefore if Colt haue written or said any thing touching those countries, it is doubtful whether it toucheth the effect or not, considering he lay still all the winter without trial of any matter. Henry Cocknedge, honest but ignorant. And for Henry Cocknedge assuredly speaking so much as I do perfectly know, I must needs say that he is a very honest young man, and right careful of his business, and in that respect worthy to be praised. But yet he being absent in the winter other then by hearesay he could not learne, so that his instructions may be something doubtful. Roger Leche expert of Lappia. And like as of the lad nothing can be learned, so am I sure that Tunstal the Cooper hath not yet beene spoken with, so that those of parts certeine knowledge cannot as yet be learned, except by Roger Leche, of whom I confesse knowledge may be had, for indeed there is no English man liuing that hath like knowledge in those countries as he hath, nor that is able to do so much with the people as he may: he in the winter trauailed one waies and other nere 300 miles: he of a litle made somthing, and learned not only the maners, conditions and customs of the people, but also he learned of al kind of commodities in those regions how they may be bought at the most aduantage, that gaine may be made of them: So that I confesse, if he hath giuen intelligence to the right Wor. company, then haue they no neede to speake with me or any other for to learne of those countries (except it be to heare mine opinion) which in truth I wil alwaies open unto them. But the effect of the beneficial secrets of that countrey is to be inquired of him, & in mine opinion worthy to be learned, except, as in the second case, they list no more to deale that waies. If the companie do not enter into the trade of Lappia, others will preuent them. To which I answere, that if they deal not that waies, & that with speede they seeke not to preuent others that mean to deale there, although not English men, let them then not thinke long to haue any profitable trade in Russia: for the greater part of that benefit wil be wiped from them, or 5 yeere to an end, as I will shew good reason, if I be demanded the question. The trade of Vedagoba. Therefore if they will maintaine the Russia trade with aduantage, then ought they to looke to this in time, so may they keepe the Russia trade as it is, and likewise make a trade in Lappia more profitable then that, and therefore this is to bee considered, rather then to prohibite Englishmen from the trade of Vedagoba. For if they looke not to this, and that in time, they may be likened (if it might be without offence spoken) to two dogs that striue for the bone whiles the third run away with it: and yet mean I not otherwise, but in such order, as not Englishmen only, but also Hollanders, Brabanders, & others may be iustly and vtterly put from the trade in Lappia, and the company to keepe the whole trades to themselues without interruption of any, to their great benefit, which I wish from the bottome of my heart, as euer I wished wealth to mine owne person: And thereby hold me excused in the third case I write of. He can say somewhat though not much. And for the fourth as touching my iudgment, as I confesse it is not very deepe, so I thanke God I am not vtterly without vnderstanding (although I be poore) and therefore peraduenture holden out of reputation, yet God doth distribute his gifts as it pleaseth him. I haue seen wise men poore in my time, & foolish men rich, and some men haue more knowledge then they can vtter by speech, which, fault was once obiected against me by a learned man of this realme: but surely how weak soeuer my vtterance is, my meaning is faithful and true, and I wish in my heart to your laudable company al the gaine that may be, or els I pray God to confound me as a false dissembler. 1183 barrels of oyle bough by others. Colt sold 27 barrels to a Hollander. It greeueth me to see how of late they haue bin brought to great charges, beating the bush, as the old terme is, & other men taking the birds: this last yere hauing in Lappia 2 ships, as I am partly informed, they both brought not much aboue 300 barrels of traine oile, yet am I sure there was bought besides them of the Russes, Corels, & Lappes, 1183 barrels, besides 27 barrels Colt sold to Iacob the Hollander, at two barrels for one Northerne dozen. And yet there is a greater inconuenience springing, which if it take a little deeper roote it will be (I feare) too hard to be pulled up, which for loue & good will (God is my witnes) I write of, wishing as to my deare friends that they should looke to it in time, if they meane to keepe the trade of Russia or Lappia. And thus loue hath compelled me to write this aduertisement, which I wish to be accepted in as good part, as I with good will haue written it.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55